Sarah Brewer

Coldwell Banker College Real Estate recently conducted a survey, marking Oxford, Ohio as one of the nation’s most affordable college towns.

Coldwell Banker College Real Estate recently issued a press release comparing the cost of housing across the nation, ranking Oxford as one of the country’s most affordable college towns.

This is the company’s third annual home comparison price index for Division I-A schools. This index compares the average housing market costs of 119 schools for similar 2,220-square foot homes.

With Oxford ranking as one of the nation’s more affordable college towns, Timothy Myers, an agent of Coldwell Banker, said that the average cost of a four-bedroom two-and-a-half bath home with a family room and two-car garage is $259,633.

However, in perspective, Oxford is less affordable by comparison to the average cost of homes at The Ohio State University, which run $238,170, and the University of Cincinnati, which are at $250,530.

The home comparison price index was divided by Division I-A football schools. The average price of homes in Miami University’s conference, the Mid-American Conference, ranks lowest in the country at $230,272. This compares to the Big Ten Conference at $300,749 and the Pac-10, with the highest average at $737,040.

Coldwell Banker suggests that families purchase homes instead of renting.

“Real estate professionals have been doing this for years,” Myers said. “Once their child is able to live off campus, they do so in the family-owned home with classmates paying rent as roommates. Over time, the home appreciates in value and the family can keep it or sell it with the proceeds going towards the college payments.”

Myers also stated that the idea is that parents would be making an investment rather than watching their money disappear from renting an apartment or housing with the school.

The Coldwell Banker agents spoke of benefits such as the tax advantage to ownership as a return on investment, which is the profit one stands to gain after reselling the home. Most students want to live near other students and this increases the values for houses such as those on Vine Street, said Susan Wilson, a realtor of Coldwell Banker.

Miami junior Stephen Maloney said he thought Coldwell Banker’s concept was a good idea, but pointed out that this strategy may not be viable in future years. He said once Miami’s sophomore residency requirement goes into effect for next year’s incoming first-years, students will only be able to live off campus for two years unless they receive a fraternity exemption.

“You will only stand to gain two years of appreciation, and after a student graduates if a house sits empty for a year your parents could loose anything gained,” Maloney said.

Because the incoming first-year students will be required to live on campus for two school years, they will not live on their own until they are juniors.

Mark Freidline, director of Miami’s Outdoor Pursuit Center, gave another opinion about Coldwell Banker’s strategy.

“A few years ago that was a good option, but with the decline in the housing market I would caution that,” said Freidline, who is also an Oxford landlord. “There are more homes for rent and sale signs than I’ve ever seen in the nine years that I’ve been here.” Freidline also pointed to the upcoming sophomore residency requirement, which he feels is going to only increase the housing surplus.

“Houses are harder to sell at this time, and I think it would be hard to make the money back after two years, but it depends on the house that you buy,” Freidline said.

While Coldwell Banker believes living in a house may be the better option, Miami junior Sarah Paneck told why she chose alternative housing.

“I chose to live in College Suites because it’s where the majority of my friends are living and my parents wanted someplace furnished so a house was out of the question,” she said. “And I chose off campus because I wanted to get the dorm life out of my system.”